The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Offers Solutions to Truck Hazards

Arthur C. Kosieradzki - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyApril 22, 2015

“1 in 10 highway deaths occurs in a crash involving a large truck,” reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS promotes safe roadway practices for truck and passenger car drivers alike. Worrisome though statistics like this may be, the IIHS declares itself an “independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes on the nation's roads,” ...also known as your biggest driving safety advocate. The IIHS acts not only as a resource for you and your passengers, but also as an a front runner in the active push for road safety nationwide. Nestled among their many resources in their helpful and easily navigated website, they present three solutions to the most frequent causes of fatal truck-related accidents, and are already making a difference in truck-related roadway safety.

Cars can slide beneath truck containers.
The guard you often see on the back of a truck’s container is supposed to prevent these types of accidents. However, according to the IIHS’s findings, guards that meet federal requirements often fail - even at lower speeds. Additionally, not all types of trucks that a passenger car is capable of getting stuck beneath are required to have a rear guard.  The IIHS sent a two-part petition to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that asked them to a) require stronger under ride guards that uphold themselves more sturdily during a crash and b) mandate more trucks to have said guards attached to the rear end of their container. As of March 2013, NHTSA had not responded to the petition, but many manufacturers saw IIHS drawing attention to the issue and modified their guards to improve their stability in an accident.

Sleep deprived drivers are a common cause of accident.
With the maximum allotment of time spent behind the wheel at a time being 11 hours, surveys are finding that drivers are far exceeding this limit in order to make more money. “Requiring electronic on-board recorders for all commercial trucks would improve compliance with federal work rules by automatically recording when a truck is driven,” writes the IIHS. Currently, drivers are required to fill out a hand-written logbook, tracking their hours worked. However, the IIHS maintains that these are often falsified and their suggested system would eradicate this type of dishonesty in order to best promote safety.

Braking and rolling.
In addition to having longer stopping distances than passenger cars, larger trucks are prone to rolling over. The IIHS has concocted a solution to this as well: “A proposal to require truck tractors to be equipped with electronic stability control could help reduce crashes.”

Allowing their passion for safety to fuel progress, the IIHS works hard to keep you and your family safe from trucks on the road. To learn more about their stance on truck safety practices, as well as the headway they’ve already made in their field, view their “Regulatory and Legislative Documents” page. Peruse their website further to see how you can help actively fight the hazards trucks present their drivers, other automobiles, and pedestrians.

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